24 September, 2005

scrutinizing chinese state-run corporations

The Horse’s Mouth points to an article from NewsMax that highlights one of the reasons Washington might be justified in its concern over Chinese state-run companies purchasing American corporations:

The Chinese army has converted a U.S.-made airliner into an advanced military command aircraft. The conversion is a direct violation of U.S.-Sino trade agreements and U.S. export laws. Officials at the U.S. State and Commerce departments refused to comment on the illegal Chinese modification.

….The aircraft now serves the Chinese army and is intended to fly PLA commanders during war. The 737 is intended to allow a PLA crew of generals and staff to fly close to a battlefield, issuing commands to their army, navy and air force from the airborne headquarters.

If the Chinese are so willing to blatantly disregard international trade agreements in order to further their military influence, why should it be so surprising that Washington and the American public feel threatened by corporate takeovers by Chinese state-run companies? Particularly those that involve strategic energy resources such as oil and natural gas.

by @ 6:42 pm. Filed under China, Asia, Current Affairs

11 September, 2005

hu yaobang to have status restored

In a surprising move President Hu Jintao has agreed to rehabilitate the status of Hu Yaobang, the former party chief whose death lead to the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests that ended with PLA troops brutally crushing thousands of students.

BEIJING — Chinese President Hu Jintao has agreed to restore the standing of the reform-minded Communist leader whose death triggered the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, a surprising reversal of party dogma that could prompt new calls for democratic change in China, according to people informed of the decision.

….The sources said there were no plans to change the party’s position that the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests were subversive, or to admit it was wrong to use troops to crush them. But the decision to rehabilitate Hu Yaobang, whom the party condemned for being too tolerant of "bourgeois" political views when it removed him from power, suggested such reversal might be possible in the future.

"This might be a first step, a small but important one," said one informed party member, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "If the party can change its position on Hu Yaobang, it can change its position on June 4 and on political reform."

Cross posted on The Horse’s Mouth

by @ 10:22 pm. Filed under China, Current Affairs

17 August, 2005

short wednesday links

Globe_gay7764113696093240Danwei reports that it’s now officially OK to be gay in China, with Shanghai’s Fudan University launching a gay studies course and state-owned Xinhua’s biweekly Globe.running a feature article on the troubles of China’s homosexuals. Bingfeng reports that it’s also Ok to be lesbian.

Nitin ponder’s the difference between Manmohan Singh and Junichiro Koizumi.

Amit Varma points to an editorial concerned with the competition between India and China - but in diplomatic and not economic spheres.

We in India are not paying enough attention to the steady accrual of Chinese soft power. There is a complacent view that this is an area where India is stronger and will continue to be so for a long time. India is banking on its open society, its lead in higher education, and its relative advantage in English. We are profoundly mistaken if we think that this will keep us ahead of China. Already, in an intellectual field that we thought we had a comfortable lead in, namely International Relations, we have fallen behind.

As Amit notes elsewhere, India and China seem to be able to come to terms with each other in economic cooperation.:

Indian and Chinese oil firms will sign agreements aimed at bidding jointly for foreign oil and gas projects and reducing cut-throat competition, a top Indian official told Reuters on Tuesday.
The energy-hungry Asian giants, which have stretched global supplies and contributed to the record rise in oil prices, are competing for stakes in foreign oil and gas projects to secure supplies.

Also at the Indian Economist, Reuben Abraham notes that India is making major progress in the pharmaceutical industry, securing the second-highest number of patents after the US.

Blogs are becoming a business in China, soon your blog may be outsourced!

I lived in Singapore for five years. It usually passes for a normal country. But it has its quirks. One is that the state media is occasionally as blatant as the North Korean Central News Agency in its obsequiousness. For example, here is Channel News Asia’s apprasial of the presidential ‘election’ where the People’s Action Party disqualified all but one candidate.

But this time around, Mr Nathan will emerge an even stronger winner backed by a sterling six-year track record, where he served with distinction and won the hearts and support of Singaporeans from all walks of life.

Jacob at Omeka Na Huria has other thoughts.

Imagethief has a message for the China Daily: Cell phones do not attract lightning! (see bottom paragraph of this Snopes item).

Tokyo is having a property bubble.

Kenny Sia has set up an app for translating websites into Benglish.

Malaysian plantation owners are denying any complicity in causing the haze.

OneFreeKorea has a roundup of Liberation Day, a date that will live in irony.


by @ 7:41 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Current Affairs, South Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs

15 August, 2005

late monday links

Is Taiwan a renegade province, independent country or a US protectorate?

… Japan renounced its sovereignty over Taiwan, but did not turn over that sovereignty to either the PRC in Beijing or the ROC in Taiwan. Neither the PRC nor the ROC were invited to the San Francisco treaty conference, and neither was a signatory to the treaty.
This means that the USMG remained the sovereign legal authority in Taiwan. Article 4(b) of the treaty states this in recognizing the authority of "the United States Military Government in any of the areas referred to in Articles 2 and 3," as does Article 23(a) recognizing "the United States of America as the principal occupying Power."
This treaty is still in effect. In the opinion of a number of scholars of international law, Taiwan is neither a province of China over which the PRC has legitimate sovereignty, nor is Taiwan a sovereign state of itself. It is, rather, an overseas territory of the U.S.

In South Korea, video games have been linked to two deaths.

ImprovedfurongThe Communist Party of China have banned Sister Furong. XiaXue won’t miss the competition, though an alliance would benefit the Sister more than a competition. She could do with more of Wendy’s  photoshopping.

The long-delayed Khmer Rouge trials may soon begin, and they will be blogged.

There’s an in-house argument at Coming Anarchy as Curzon reacts to Chirol’s earlier post on North Korea. Curzon says, Nuke it!

Meanwhile some in South Korea have started to act more French. On top of appeasing, now there is a move to rid the language of Japanese cognates.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister was assassinated on Saturday. Munir at Diplomatic Review and Manish at Sepia Mutiny wonder if the Tamil Tigers have returned to their old ways.

But if Sri Lanka returns to war, perhaps we will be fortunate that Aceh, Indonesia, may finally find peace.:

A Leap of Faith That’s the peace accord between the Government of Indonesia (GoI) and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed today in Helsinki. The deal centers on a decommissioning of the GAM rebel movement, in exchange for participation in the political process, and a withdrawal of the Indonesian army and police forces from the troubled region, to be completed by the end of the year.

Not everyone is happy about the new agreement, Gateway Pundit reports on protests in Jakarta over the fact that the peace deal provides for peacekeepers.

Indonesian protesters raise their fists as they shout ‘Allahuakbar!’ (God is great) during a protest in Jakarta, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2005. Hundreds of Muslims staged the rally rejecting the presence of non-Muslim countries, especially the United States and European Union, in the troubled province of Aceh to participate in the monitoring of the peace accord between the government and the separatist rebels which will be signed in Finland on Monday.

Yes, yes, in conservative majority-Muslim Indonesia protests can be expected from the Islamists, they even protested the "Miss Waria Indonesia 2005" contest. (Agam’s Gecko via FriskoDude).


So the other night, #7 was a story on "Miss Waria Indonesia 2005". And
I thought to myself, "Wow, those are some brave girls… er, guys." For
you see, waria in Indonesia is the same as kathoey in Thailand — although for obvious reasons, not as generally well accepted as part of the local fauna. The word waria
– in line with the Indonesian propensity for making new words out of
cryptic abbreviations for any and everything — is a combination of wanita (woman) and pria
(man). In Thailand, the transvestite cabaret shows are very popular
with locals and tourists alike. Huge venues like Calypso and Alcazar
are world famous for their shows, and are packed every night. For many
foreign visitors, attending a "ladyboy" cabaret is a must-do when in
the Kingdom. They are really quite amazing.

2l5axgthumbBut, protesting ladyboy contests are expected, threatening to boycott Proctor & Gamble because they use this hottie as a model is just plain weird.

But no matter how odd nationalist Chinese netizens can be,

the Japanese can be even stranger (not porn, but nsfw).

Bruce at Naruwan Formosa brings us an Aussie open letter to China’s Premier Hu Jintao.

It seems that China continues to try to emulate Singapore, it’s testing out a state-sponsored matchmaking program for the PLA.

Single 25 year old officer looking for politically reliable, progressive thinking woman of upright conduct to be lawfully wedded spouse. Must be 23 years or older and prepared for extra one week holiday to celebrate our union.
Please apply immediately to my unit’s commissar.


Spg2In an effort to make up for any disturbance the katooey pic may have caused, I feel obliged to include another photo of an actual woman. The Sarong Party Girl is featured in an interview at Capital Region People (via Tomorrow.sg).

This may be a first, the Wanabe Lawyer has fisked a podcast.:

The ‘podcast’ starts off with a rant against the PAP, using the same old accusations and assertions that attempts to stir up anger and hate. The really funny part was when CSJ immediately went on to claim that they would offer alternative policy proposals, rather than just criticising the PAP, because ‘they believe in being constructive’.
I believe these proposals are rubbish, and I will explain why, and thus provide the reasons why I hold the SDP with particular disdain.

For Indian readers Happy National Day! For Koreans, Happy Liberation Day! Remember, .


by @ 9:22 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Cambodia, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Current Affairs, Media, South Asia, Web/Tech, Weblogs, North Korea

20 July, 2005

pentagon report on PLA strength

Tuesday July 20th the Pentagon released a report that outlined the military capabilities of the PLA and what some of its near-term goals would be.  The report details what the PLA has done to beef up its military infrustructure from adding submarines, landing craft, long-range nuclear missiles, to a possible foray into space-based weapons. It also outlines some scenarios of what China might do if Taiwan were to declare independance - most of which end up with a lot of shooting.  It says what everyone expected it to say - China is a growing military presence in Asia and is shaping up to be a global military power in the long term. Which really means China is going to be a military threat in the future. 

This document is an assessment of what the Pentagon thinks the PLA can do militarily now and in the near future and therefore will be cited quite a bit in the next year or two as China starts flexing it’s military muscle.

by @ 4:09 pm. Filed under China, Taiwan, Asia, Current Affairs

19 July, 2005

the world responds to gen. zhu

The recent uproar over General Zhu’s comments regarding Chinese use of nuclear weapons has inspired a number of responses, both from government officials and in major world newspapers.

Both the American and Chinese governments have come out to condemn his remarks.  However, Xinhua reports the Chinese steadfastness on Taiwan:

"We will firmly abide by the principles of peaceful reunification and one country two systems, and we will express the deepest sincerity and exert the greatest efforts to realize a peaceful reunification of China," the Xinhua news agency quoted a ministry spokesman as saying late Friday.
But, the spokesman added: "We will never tolerate ‘Taiwan Independence’, neither will we allow anybody with any means to separate Taiwan from the motherland."


Australian Prime Minister Howard put his own spin on the comments, denouncing them and playing them down.

The Financial Times, which seems to have scooped this story, also promptly put out an editorial calling for both sides to resist the aggression of their hawk factions

The Uncooperative Blogger suggests that this statement was intentional and was meant to rebuff Americans should the Chinese ultimately decide to invade Taiwan. America’s conservative FrontPageMagazine agrees.

I have been surprised with how little has been said about this by other foreigners in editorial pages.  It seems to me that it should be bigger news.  In any case, this seems to punctuate the recent slide in Sino-American relations and should certainly change the tone of the relationship.

by @ 7:47 am. Filed under China, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Current Affairs

mr. singh goes to washington

The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Washington D.C today to a red-carpet welcome from President Bush. This is official visit is being used to symbolize the improving relations between the two countries.

The New York Times reports:

Underscoring a rapidly improving relationship that he said had "never been stronger," President Bush gave a warm welcome today to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, as the two leaders pledged closer cooperation in trade and technology.

After decades of acrimonious relations between the two countries - tensions were highest during the Cold War, when India was friendly with the Soviet Union - the administration sees this improving relationship as a major foreign policy success, particularly as it parallels the rise in
the power and influence of China.

However, Mr. Bush and Mr. Singh failed to settle all their differences, notably over India’s request for nuclear energy materials and its bid for permanent membership on the United Nations Security  Council.

Indo-U.S ties have been improving since Clinton’s (superstar in India) visit to India in 1999 and lifting of the sanctions. The fact that the two countries have signed a military pact and have been conducting joint exercises is a stark contrast to the mistrust of the past decades. In the recent years, the relationship has moved beyond dealing with Pakistan and Kashmir, rising to a sort of more mature level. Whether it is to prop up India against China, or the shared democratic values or even the shared threat of terrorism. Its only logical for these two nations to be natural allies. However,the recent refusal by U.S to back India for the security council has irked the Indians. As they believe they have a strong case.
Also, the increasing energy ties between India and Iran has (not surprisingly) been frowned upon by Washington. These issues and some others will take their toll on the relationship. However, it seems there won’t be any more name calling behind each others backs, at least not on this level.

by @ 5:02 am. Filed under India, Asia, Current Affairs, South Asia

18 July, 2005

ironic pretend ‘asian invasion’ loses ground to ‘actual’ pretend asian invasion

Asian diaspora bloggers in the West with ironically-threatening names, such as America’s Angryasianman and New Zealand’s Yellow Peril, are viewing America’s recasting of China as a non-ironically-threatening geopolitical force, to be a uniquely challenging branding dilemma.  Says Yellow Peril:

Since I started my convolutedly ironic, yet politically and culturally challenging diaspora blog, if you Googled ‘Yellow Peril’, the first thing that came up was ME.  That’s the way I like it.  How is the resurgence of Sinophobia and General Zhu’s threat of a nuclear strike [see below] going to affect my hitrate?

Meanwhile, the UK-born Asian diaspora was busy trying to figure out how many of them went to school with the London bombers

And in Sydney, one of Yellow Peril’s Chinese doctor ‘cousins’ treated a shambolic, mentally ill Muslim man with a broad Australian accent.  The local police then reported the terrified Muslim to the federal authorities because in the midst of his pavement ramblings, he said the word ‘bus’.

by @ 5:04 pm. Filed under Culture, Blogs, China, Pakistan, India, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Current Affairs, Weblogs, Terrorism, Australia, Bangladesh

15 July, 2005

china pla threatens nuclear strike

The Financial Times reported today that General Zhu Chenghu said "…I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons" - in regards to a U.S. military intervention in the conflict over Taiwan.   He was answering questions at a press conference for foreign journalists.

This statement was made a week before the Pentagon presents a report to Congress on the Chinese military.  It is also in the midst of a heated debate on whether the Chinese should be allowed buy the California based oil company Unocal. This has repeatedly brought up the question of whether China is a friend or foe - General Chenghu’s statement might help to clear up that issue.



by @ 8:49 am. Filed under China, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Current Affairs, Eli Alberts

9 July, 2005

cpc rationality

Michael Turton has a good post and a lively debate on the likelihood of a Chinese attack on Taiwan. He considers my earlier post (among others) to be naive - both in its assessment of the capabilities of Taiwan and its allies and on my assessment of the Communist Party of China being a rational actor.

From many years of reading and watching history I put very little faith
in the ability of leaders to rationally manage events. Asia watchers
especially should be the first to discount the idea that leadership
will avoid war to get rich, or for some similar material goal. Prior to
WWII Japan followed policies whose goals were to bring it into war with
China, Russia, the US, and the UK, the four largest political entities
on earth, all at the same time.

This is a fair point and, to clarify, I certainly don’t think that the CPC are rational over Taiwan. On cross-straits matters, the CPC has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to be irrational. I could imagine numerous scenarios where they would launch an assault on the island. If, for instance, there were an indication from Washington that it would not intervene (or the perception that Washington would not intervene). Or if Pan-Green forces did manage to formalize the island’s independence.

However, the basis of the Gertz article (which Michael rightly characterizes as propaganda) is that China is positioning itself to attack within two years. I do not discount that there are events that would prompt China to irrationally attack Taiwan - but I do not see anything that would encourage China to do so in that timeframe. Moreover if China did attack by end 2007, it should not expect victory.

If pushed, the CPC will indeed act irrationally. For now, Hu Jintao has probably been more rational on the Taiwan issue than previous leaders. The tone of official CPC propaganda has shifted away from the threats of yesterday. Instead we are each day bombarded with flattery of Taiwan’s Pan-Blue camp and tales of cross-strait corporate co-operation. I won’t debate whether this will benefit the KMT and others, but it is paying dividends for Hu. Despite the military buildup, the trend that I’m seeing is an increasing demilitarization of the Taiwan issue.

I’m not a seasoned Sinologist and Hu plays politics with his cards close to his chest, but I think it’s safe to say that China’s senior leadership is finally getting the fact that lobbing missiles during elections is not the way to achieve unification.

But yes, counting on the CPC to remain rational is not a good basis for a defense policy. China’s military buildup does need level-headed consideration - Rumsfeld’s comments were welcome, Gertz’s paranoia isn’t.

Read Michael’s full argument (and comments) here also an initial rebuttal by Mei Zhongtai here.

by @ 3:13 pm. Filed under China, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Current Affairs

29 June, 2005

canada and the ‘china syndrome’

The Toronto Star has a reasonably balanced article on the emerging trade war between the U.S. and China, and Canada’s place in averting it.

Call it the new China Syndrome. Canadian Finance Minister Ralph Goodale has been wrestling with it. So has U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. And if something isn’t done about it, some policy makers fear the resulting impact could destabilize the global economy. Their
dilemma is this: Many of China’s trade partners — and especially the
United States — are saying cheap Chinese goods are flowing into North
America, flooding their markets and destroying jobs.

by @ 3:35 am. Filed under China, Money, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia, Current Affairs, Eli Alberts

16 June, 2005

high hopes

As the resumption of six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program seems increasingly likely, the Bush administration is preparing itself mentally. This New York Times item shows they have the right idea. It’s never good to go into a negotiation with overly high expectations. (below summary via OneFreeKorea):

I’m really not at all surprised by DiTrani’s comment, in light of what I’ll just call "other information." The real issues here are: (1) North Korea isn’t serious about disarming (2) because it has no fear that there will be consequences if it does not disarm, and because (3) its greatest fear is the openness and transparency that are essential to verifying any disarmament agreement. They’re right, in other words, so the question of security guarantees is probably irrelevant anyway. Transparency is the key to both disarmament and human rights, and there isn’t going to be transparency unless we persuade North Korea that opacity and mendacity will have serious consequences. Threats of war won’t do that, because they know (or worse yet, may miscalculate) we won’t follow through. Threats of bankruptcy and instability will.

by @ 2:02 pm. Filed under South Korea, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Current Affairs, Global/grober, North Korea

14 June, 2005

bollywood and awareness of the outside world

OxBlog’s Patrick Belton receives a letter from Bangladesh:

IT is the new buzz here, but it is unclear whether it actually exists
besides one sad-looking internet café with two computers in the
“wealthy” part of town (read: less than abject poverty). Both times I
went there was no current and hence no internet, but in theory you
could check your email. Dhaka still does not have a McDonald’s nor any
other international chain, although it does have a Dominous pizza (note
the ingenious way around copyright) and a restaurant that has stolen
the Chili’s logo and sells Thai food. The country has trouble
attracting foreign investment because it has one of the highest
corruption rates in the world, exacerbated by a political system run
almost entirely by two political families who trade off power almost
every election…

When I was here before, women did not adhere strictly to purdah and
many ventured into the marketplace wearing only hijab. Now, women are
largely kept to their homes and are required to wear a burkah in
public. However, some advances have been made in women’s health. Birth
control in the form of contraceptive pills from India is now available,
although apparently the local Madrassa has organized a campaign against
its use (not that it seemed to be having much effect; most of the women
see it as a Godsend)…

The biggest difference has to be the proliferation of cell phones and
televisions. Now, every third person seems to have a cell phone. The people in the
area may still not have reliable electricity, or safe drinking water,
or indoor plumbing, or much of anything else, but now many families do
have a television. The children look just as malnourished but now they
can sing Bollywood songs. Because of this, the people have a greater
awareness of the outside world than they did four years ago.[OxBlog]

by @ 5:07 pm. Filed under Culture, India, Asia, Current Affairs, South Asia, Film, Nitin Pai, Television

9 June, 2005

love kim like you love musharraf

Inspired by the manner in which the United States treated another military dictatorship that tested nuclear weapons and is neck deep in proliferation activities, North Korea has expressed a desire to be treated similarly (via ).

Analysts said North Korea might ask the United States to reduce its military presence in South Korea and remove North Korea as a potential target for a pre-emptive nuclear strike in exchange for Pyongyang’s abandonment of its nuclear weapons program.

Other sources in the U.S. government said North Korea may be seeking to be treated like Pakistan.

Pakistan has strengthened its ties with the United States even though it went ahead with nuclear weapons tests and has been implicated in the proliferation of nuclear weapons. [Asahi]

The Acorn’s advice: The Dear Leader needs to ask his propaganda machine to ‘find’ Osama bin Laden somewhere on the Korean peninsula, north of 38th  parallel.

by @ 1:44 pm. Filed under Pakistan, Asia, East Asia, Current Affairs, South Asia, Terrorism, North Korea, Nitin Pai

29 May, 2005

avian flu blog

New discovery: A blog dedicated to covering the Avian Flu. From an entry today, China denies human deaths in Qinghai.

Dr. Klaus Stohr said the WHO conferred with representatives of the
Chinese Ministry of Health both in Geneva and in Beijing and was given
assurances the reports, published on some Chinese websites, were
unfounded. "We have spoken with the Ministry of Health representatives
here in Geneva today. We have also had contact with our colleagues in
China. They have come back and said that there is no indication of
human cases. They have not seen any human cases," Stohr said in an
interview from Geneva. The WHO will continue to monitor the situation,
Stohr added.

by @ 11:14 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Current Affairs

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